By Chris Mandzufas
Business innovation is all about coming up with new ways to do things. Innovation can save your business time and money and can also be a key to your business developing a competitive advantage.
The importance of innovation in your business – The seven sources of innovation
Business leaders must constantly look for new ways to innovate because you can’t solve many problems with old solutions. Innovation is critical across all industries; however, it’s important to avoid using it as a buzzword and thoroughly understand why innovation is essential and what it means for your business.
Contrary to popular wisdom, most innovation is about more than just technical innovation. Essentially innovation can come from Seven Sources, and these are listed below.
- The Unexpected– An unexpected success, failure, or external event can be a symptom of a unique opportunity.
- The Incongruous– A discrepancy between reality and what everyone assumes it to be, or between what is and what ought to be, can create an innovative opportunity.
- Innovation based on process need– When a weak link is evident in a particular process, but people work around it instead of doing something about it, an opportunity exists for the person or company willing to supply the “missing link.”
- Changes in industry or market structure– The opportunity for an innovative product, service, or business approach occurs when the industry or market’s underlying foundation shifts.
- Demographics– Changes in the population’s size, age structure, composition, employment, level of education, and income can create innovative opportunities.
- Changes in perception, mood, and meaning– Innovative opportunities can develop when a society’s general assumptions, attitudes, and beliefs change.
- New Knowledge – Advances in scientific and non-scientific knowledge can create new products and markets.
A simple idea to increase the rate of innovative insights within your business could be to step through each of the Seven Sources and:
- Brainstorm known issues/observations
- Figure out how to learn more about the current issues for each Source
- Establish an ongoing “net” or “web” to capture issues/opportunities for each Source constantly
- Establish a Group that regularly reviews the innovative ideas/issues (Hint – unless the business owner is actively engaged here, your chances of success decrease dramatically).
If you would like to discuss the above and how you might improve innovation in your business, please do not hesitate to contact us.